Space scientist from North Lincolnshire honoured with a statue

A statue of Wallace Sargent, a renowned space scientist who was born and raised in North Lincolnshire, has been unveiled outside his former school in Winterton. The sculpture, made of steel, depicts Sargent looking up at the stars, reflecting his passion for astronomy and his contributions to the field.

Wallace Sargent: A humble son of Winterton

Wallace Sargent was born in 1935 in Winterton, a town in North Lincolnshire. His parents were a steelworker and a cleaner, and he attended Winterton Junior School and Scunthorpe Technical College. He developed an interest in astronomy at an early age, and went on to study the subject at Manchester University in the 1950s.

Space scientist from North Lincolnshire honoured with a statue
Space scientist from North Lincolnshire honoured with a statue

He later worked at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, where he made important discoveries about the spectra of stars and nebulae. He also collaborated with other astronomers to develop new instruments and techniques for observing the sky.

Wallace Sargent: A distinguished professor of astronomy

In 1968, Sargent moved to the United States and became a professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. He continued his research on various topics, such as black holes, quasars, galaxies, and the intergalactic medium. He was also involved in several major projects, such as the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey, the Keck Observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Sargent was widely respected and admired by his colleagues and students for his brilliance, curiosity, and generosity. He received many awards and honors for his work, including being elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1981 and an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1998. In 2006, an asteroid discovered in 1960 was named after him: 11758 Sargent. It takes more than five and a half Earth years to complete its orbit around the sun.

Wallace Sargent: A legacy of inspiration

Sargent passed away in 2012 at the age of 77, but his legacy lives on through his publications, his students, and his impact on the field of astronomy. He is also remembered by his hometown of Winterton, where a statue of him was erected outside his former school as part of a community project.

The statue, which stands at 6ft high (2m), was created by local artist Michael Scrimshaw using steel donated by British Steel. It shows Sargent gazing up at the stars with a smile on his face. The sculpture was unveiled on October 24, 2023 by Ian Dyer, chair of Winterton 2022, a group that aims to improve the town’s facilities and environment.

Dyer said that the statue was not only a tribute to Sargent’s achievements, but also a source of inspiration for the community, especially young people. He said that the sculpture stands as a symbol of shared history and collective ambition, showing the story of one of their own who began humbly and achieved incredible things.

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